MANILA - The Makabayan bloc is hoping that the next speaker of the House of Representatives in the 18th Congress will respect a "real minority".
"We would hope that whoever becomes Speaker, at the minimum, respect a real minority in the House and allow for time for debate, for a real minority to perform a role as fiscalizer, as critic of administration policies and so on so that's what we expect of an incoming speaker," ACT Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio said Friday.
Tinio said that they fielded Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate to be their candidate for the speakership, a post that is also being eyed by Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, Leyte Representative-elect Martin Romualdez, former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte, and Taguig Representative-elect Alan Peter Cayetano.
"We know the real score in terms of numbers but clearly we're making here a political point. We are showing that it's possible to have a candidate for speaker who will be truly independent from the president and will maintain the status of the House intended in the Constitution as a co-equal branch that will serve as check and balance on the executive branch," Tinio said.
By fielding Zarate, Tinio said they are showing that it is possible to have a Speaker of the House who would stand up for people's issues, for sovereignty, for human rights, and democratic rights.
"It's true there will only be six members of the Makabayan Bloc in the incoming House. It may not make a difference in terms of the Speakership but it will certainly, even with 6 members, be significant when it comes to the minority leadership, for example,” said Tinio.